During the First Presidential Debate (October 3, 2012) I heard Barack Obama mention "10 year old textbooks" in a negative way.

It means that the teacher that I met in Las Vegas, wonderful young lady, who describes to me -- she's got 42 kids in her class.

The first two weeks, she's got them -- some of them sitting on the floor until finally they get reassigned. They're using textbooks that are 10 years old. That is not a recipe for growth; that's not how America was built.

Is there actually any evidence that shows old text books are actually a significant hindrance in a good education?

It seems like older books would correlate with other lack of funding, so it might be a hard to isolate causation or find valid case studies where that variable is even somewhat controlled. But to me it seems most of the stuff I learned in high school hadn't changed in the past 10 years. Have there been any studies?

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    In biology, they are absolutely a hindrance. In physics-- well, Newton's equations haven't changed much. Math, same thing. Social studies/history, maybe. Just depends on how fast the field moves and what knowledge is expected to be known at a high school level. – mmr Oct 4 '12 at 1:54
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    Yeah, having an history book where in red in the middle of the world the map there is the USSR can be hilarious, but also a bit sad. – Zenon Oct 4 '12 at 1:58
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    I do think that a good teacher can overcome a bad text. A poor teacher is lost with any text. – user3344 Oct 4 '12 at 2:39
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    Is it about the content of the book, or rather the physical state it's in? – vartec Oct 4 '12 at 10:26
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    @woodchips: surely informatics has changed the way we do math. However, for primary/middle school level math, computational calculus is generally not a requirement. – nico Oct 6 '12 at 10:40

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